Professor Peter Robinson wins NSW Science and Engineering Award
15 November 2012
Professor Peter Robinson, from the School of Physics, has won the NSW Science and Engineering Award for Emerging Research announced on 14 November 2012 at an awards ceremony held at Government House, Sydney.
Announced by Professor Mary O'Kane, NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, the awards recognise and reward the State's leading researchers in science and engineering for cutting edge work that generates economic, health, environmental or technological benefits for NSW.
Professor Peter Robinson received his award from The Hon Andrew Stoner, Deputy Premier of NSW and Minister for Trade and Investment. Each of the award winners across the eight categories received a trophy and $5000 prize money.
"All of this year's category winners are among our state's leading lights in areas such as environmental sciences, biomedicine, plant and animal research, engineering and ICT, emerging research and teaching. Each winner is making a crucial contribution to the future of NSW," said Professor Mary O'Kane.
Professor Robinson is head of the Complex Systems Group at the University of Sydney, Deputy Director of the Brain Dynamics Centre at Westmead Hospital, a Chief Investigator of the Centre for Integrated Research and Understanding of Sleep and a founding member of BRAINnet.
"It's a great honor to receive this award. Winning this award emerges out of the work of all my collaborators, not just my own. It's impossible to do this sort of interdisciplinary work without the expertise contributed by many people in many fields - staff and students alike - in academia, hospitals and industry," said Professor Robinson.
"The award also recognises the importance of interdisciplinary research, which is classified under the category of Emerging Research in these awards. This is perhaps the most rapidly growing type of research, lying between traditional disciplines, many of whose demarcations were set in the 19th century."
He won his award for pioneering work in the emerging area of physiologically based quantitative brain modeling and its applications. Professor Robinson's research is used to better understand brain dynamics, particularly in terms of epileptic seizures and their onsets. He models sleep-wake patterns which have major implications for the diagnosis of sleep disorders, predicting fatigue and drowsiness and improving productivity.
"My work is on quantitative physics-based modeling of brain structure and dynamics, including comparisons with experiments and imaging. The main areas are brain dynamics, sleep and alertness, networks and brain structure, and development of data and imaging analysis methods and technology," explained Professor Robinson.
"The research has succeeded in bringing hard-core theoretical physics techniques, like field theory, wave physics and nonlinear dynamics, to bear on problems of practical interest in brain dynamics."
Professor Robinson has made the first applications of neural field theory to realistic brain network dynamics, which has led to improved understanding of the types of brain architecture that are compatible with brain function.
"I think the NSW Science and Engineering Awards are important to provide recognition of achievements in science - a tiny amount compared to other areas of endeavor such as sport, media and arts. Although I do think it is right that science is mostly about investigating the natural world, and not individual scientists."
Professor Robinson has previously won the Australian Academy of Science Pawsey Medal and Bede Morris Fellowship, the Eureka Prize for Interdisciplinary Research, the Edgeworth David Medal and the Australian Institute of Physics Walter Boas Medal. He is currently on his second Federation Fellowship.
Read about the NSW Science and Engineering Awards at: www.business.nsw.gov.au/networking-and-events/awards/nsw-science-engineering-awards
Contact: Katynna Gill
Phone: 02 9351 6997